Privacy claims to proceed against Golden State Warriors and Signal360 over app

By Carrie Salls | Dec 8, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – A mobile app privacy lawsuit will proceed against two of the three named defendants, according to an order filed Nov. 20 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Specifically, the court denied a dismissal motion filed by defendants Golden State Warriors LLC and Signal360 Inc., formerly known as Sonic Notify Inc. 

According to the order, National Basketball Association team the Golden State Warriors offers an app, which was developed by Yinzcam, which is designed to provide “an interactive experience for fans by delivering scores, news and other information relevant to the organization.”

In a putative class action lawsuit, plaintiff Latisha Satchell alleged that the app allows the defendants to “systematically and surreptitiously intercept[] consumers’ oral communications without their consent,” the district court order said.

“That is, once consumers downloaded and opened the Warriors app, the app would engage the bug, receive an OK from Signal360’s server (per the rules created by [the Warriors]), and turn on consumers’ microphones, listening and picking up any and all audio within range of a user’s microphone,” the order said.

Satchell alleged that the recording would not stop until the user’s phone was turned off or “when the consumer manually stopped the bug’s process (something consumers ignorant of the bug would not know to do).”

In an earlier ruling on the same dispute, the district court said it found that Satchell’s claims that the app used a microphone or other device to record the user’s conversations “were sufficient to show ‘capture' of the contents of an oral communication.”

Since the court also ruled in the first order that the Warriors or Yinzcam did not acquire the recorded audio under the definition set by the Wiretap Act, it said Satchell’s allegations “were sufficient to show Signal360 engaged in interception but were not sufficient to show the Warriors or Yinzcam had done so.”

However, the court said the plaintiff’s second lawsuit did indeed show that Sonic360 could also be held liable for improperly intercepting her conversations.

“Specifically, plaintiff cites at least four instances where she had her phone with her, the app was running, and she had conversations about private matters, including non-public information during a business meeting and private financial matters,” the Nov. 20 order said.

An initial case management conference is scheduled for Jan. 12.

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